Three standout Westminster athletes and leaders put arms around each other’s shoulders and smiled for the cameras Friday.
Larkin Ison, Cale McLarnon and Brandon Smith signed letters of intent to play college athletics during a ceremony at the school’s gymnasium in front of the student body.
Ison signed with Princeton for football, and McLarnon and Smith inked with Southern Wesleyan for soccer.
“It’s a celebration,” McLarnon said. “A lot of hard work went into this. It’s nice to see all the family and friends gather together, and it’s nice to see that we had so many people playing a role to help us get here in our lives. It’s real meaningful to have them here and have them supporting us on the big day.”
Ison will head to the Ivy League school in New Jersey with plans to contend for a spot at outside linebacker and work his way to safety.
He quickly made his mark at Westminster after coming in the middle of his junior year and developed into a standout athlete in football.
Ison said the move in the middle of his high school career was tough, but coming to Westminster allowed him the chance to attend an Ivy League school, and he was thankful for the school’s support.
“Obviously any Ivy League you go to is a great opportunity, but when I went there, the moment I stepped off the plane, I got a different vibe than when I went to any other Ivy League,” Ison said. “The coaching staff, the teammates, the energy around the campus was totally different than any other campus I went to. I knew from the start that it was the home for me.”
McLarnon and Smith will head to Southern Wesleyan in Central, S.C., a member of the Division II Conference Carolinas.
The two soccer standouts were key pieces to Westminster’s current run of state championships. The Wildcats, under coach Mike Freece, have claimed four consecutive state titles, and McLarnon and Smith have had a hand in them.
The two agreed that Southern Wesleyan coach Garrett Bireline has similar philosophies to Freece, which was a draw to the program.
“Having coach Freece as my coach first really set the bar high, because coach Freece is such a good role model for me, such a good teacher and coach,” Smith said. “Getting to know coach Bireline reminded me of coach Freece. I’m really excited to be playing under him and I know I can learn from him.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or email@example.com.